March 29, 2017

Michael Fassbender baring it all in fest films “Dangerous Method,” “Shame” – AWARDS ALLEY


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Sex must be on Michael Fassbender’s brain.

The powerful talent dazzled art house crowds this spring playing Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre,” then upped his geek cred playing a young Magneto for Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men prequel, “First Class.”

But Fassbender takes two steps in a decidedly more adult direction with his fall features “A Dangerous Method” and “Shame,” both of which played to festival crowds in Venice and Telluride over the weekend. Cronenberg’s film, “Method,” casts Fassbender as Carl Jung who, along with Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), attempts to treat a wild patient (Keira Knightley). The film unlocks passions in all three but still dabbles in repression … which isn’t a problem for Fassbender’s other film, “Shame.”

Directed by his “Hunger” helmer Steve McQueen, “Shame” imagines Fassbender as a sex addict roaming the streets of New York City who’s obsessed with physical contact, so long as there’s no love involved.

THR says McQueen’s film is “driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance” by Fassbender, while Pete Hammond notes that while the film played to mixed reactions in Telluride, “One thing is clear … Fassbender is a definite star.”

And then there are his … other assets. (Thank you, Jeff Wells.)

Will Oscar take notice? The Academy isn’t keen on recognizing sexually explicit material, and actors who lay bare (in a physical sense) often are overlooked in their respective categories.

But it’s hard to deny Fassbender’s talent, and this could be the year the Academy sits up and takes notice via an acting nomination. Outside of Jessica Chastain, few can claim to have as many solid roles on their 201 resume as Fassbender … with each part being more diverse from the next. If he’s as fearless as we hear he in “Shame,” and as grounded as we imagine he’ll be to Cronenberg’s vision, it will be hard NOT to talk about this actor and his performances as the awards season marches on.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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